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Home security cameras really need to stop letting strangers spy on our lives

A major security breach in Eufy’s system was recounted on Reddit by owners in America, New Zealand, and Australia.

Eufy item screenshot
Eufy

Anyone owning a Eufy home smart security system may want to consider powering down their cameras for the time being. A number of users recently reported a minor bug that... um... will just straight-up stream video feeds from inside strangers’ houses.

As explained by MacRumors, “Eufy cameras offer users the ability to view real-time and recorded streams of video feeds from the devices set up in and around the home. However, many Eufy owners are reporting seeing video feeds from cameras that are clearly not their own,” while also adding that a few users indicate they are actually able to “pan and zoom” using these other accounts’ cameras.

As of writing, one Redditor is alleging the problem appears to have been resolved while noting that their own personal experience with the security issue lasted around three hours total. Another user claimed this isn’t the first time a similar breach has occurred, and that Eufy owners saw the same problem between five and seven months ago. So far, the company has not seemed to publicly address the potential security breaches, so in the meantime, we can just add this latest terrifying problem to the ever-increasing list of reasons why the home surveillance industry is incredibly worrisome.

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A seller’s market — Despite the numerous creepy consequences that apparently can befall pretty much anyone owning smart home security systems, it’s an industry that remains incredibly profitable. Late last year, for example, Google announced a $450 million partnership with ADT, one of the most recognizable security brands on the market. Meanwhile, Ring (despite being owned by Amazon, a company not known for its privacy advocacy) sales skyrocketed last year, moving an estimated 1.4 million doorbell units in 2020.

More secure alternatives — Reports like this most recent Eufy breach doesn’t mean anyone needs to give up on smart home security altogether, however. With products like Raspberry Pi’s high-quality camera additions, it’s relatively easy to set up your own, closed-circuit home security systems. For those looking for a more streamlined experience, products like the HeimVision Assure B1 offer video surveillance that doesn’t rely on cloud services from companies like Google, Amazon, or Facebook.

Although no system is realistically entirely foolproof, there’s certainly an increasing number of options that can provide both modern-day security and data privacy within the same package... it just doesn’t sound like Eufy quite falls into that category yet.